US President Barack Obama’s administration may be touting a leaner, cheaper US military, but the latest National Defense Authorization Act allows for larger payouts to Central Asian states that are providing logistical cover for the Afghan war effort.
The National Defense Authorization Act 2012, under Section 1213, sets aside an additional $90 million for countries that provide the US military with “logistical, military, and other support including access provided by that nation.” The main potential beneficiaries of the provision would appear to be the Central Asian nations that host the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), now the main supply line for US and NATO forces engaged in Afghanistan.
Since US funds were set aside to compensate “certain coalition nations for support provided to United States military operations,” the amount of money available has increased steadily from $1.2 billion in 2008 to $1.6 billion in 2010 and to $1.69 billion this year. Uzbekistan, which serves as the hub for NDN operations, stands to obtain the largest share of the additional funds.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.